Dave O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution spends some time imagining Johnny Damon in a Braves uniform, observing that Atlanta could afford to sign him if they could do a one- or
two-year below $10 million. And he thinks that Damon would consider it because (a) he hasn’t received better offers; and (b) he’s told some
people he’d like to play for the Braves, who train near his Orlando
My take: at this point there should be several teams calling Scott Boras with an Adrian Beltre-type offer: one year at around $9 million with an option for year two. That may actually be high for Damon given his inferior defense and the relative lack of interest in him compared to Beltre, but in light of what happened with Beltre and Boston, Damon is suddenly in the realm of the doable for a lot of teams who might not have otherwise looked at him before.
O’Brien wonders whether if, at those prices, the Yankees might come back into the Damon raffle (“sweepstakes” is too grand a word for him). It’s possible, especially in light of Boston signing Beltre — never underestimate the power of an arms race — but Brian Cashman’s “stand pat” talk seems a bit more convincing this year than it has in years past.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Cubs have signed pitcher Brett Anderson to a contract, pending a physical. Anderson, apparently, impressed the Cubs during a bullpen session held in Arizona recently. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the deal is for $3.5 million, but incentives can bring the total value up to $10 million.
Anderson, 28, has only made a total of 53 starts and 12 relief appearances over the past five seasons due to a litany of injuries. This past season, he made just three starts and one relief appearance, yielding 15 runs on 25 hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. The lefty dealt with back, wrist, and blister issues throughout the year.
When he’s healthy, Anderson is a solid arm to have at the back of a starting rotation or in the bullpen. The defending world champion Cubs aren’t risking much in bringing him on board.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.
What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.
The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.
Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.